how to draw an excavator

How to Draw an Excavator | Step-by-Step Guide

Here are nine easy steps to help you create a realistic depiction of an excavator in less than half an hour! With the use of standard drawing materials, you can easily transfer the image on your screen to your drawing paper with little to zero stress!

First, just to clarify, let’s explore what an excavator is. The standard definition describes an excavator as an earthmoving vehicle used for lifting large amounts of soil or rock.

It’s quite similar to a bulldozer, however they are often larger than dozers and can be used on both level and unlevel ground. Common fixtures on an excavator include a large bucket, rotating cab, arm, and movable tracks.

These kind of drawings are among my favorite because they’re quite easy to execute, and can be done using simple drawing techniques. If you love drawing vehicles, have a particular interest in excavators, or merely want to try your hand at drawing, this is the perfect tutorial for you! Are you ready to get started?

What You Will Need

  • A4 sheet of paper
  • Pencils (HB, 2h and 3b)
  • An eraser
  • A ruler
  • Circular object
  • Coloring supplies
  • 20-25 minutes
Complete Process

How To Draw An Excavator

I recommend first studying the outline before doing anything else. Note the shapes marked in red to gain a keen sense of what each step will involve. This is going to help prepare you in advance and limit the amount of breaks you take.

Another way to ensure you have a seamless drawing experience is to have all the required drawing materials on hand to avoid scrambling around. If you’re not looking to freehand most of the drawing, then make sure you have a ruler and a circular object, like a coin or bottle cap, on standby.

how to draw an excavator
Step Outline

Step 1: Draw the Driver’s Cab

Kick off your drawing by flipping your paper in a landscape orientation. This is going to provide you with more space to flesh out the small details on an excavator.

Then, start by drawing a large vertical rectangle placed somewhere around the center of the page. This shape is going to represent the driver’s cab – the fixture used to house the driver as he or she operates the vehicle.

Is it just me or does the rectangle look a bit off, though? Ah! That’s because you need to erase the sides, replace them with diagonal lines that make the top part narrower than the bottom and add curves to each corner. Yep, that looks much better!

  • Draw a vertical rectangle
  • Make the top part of the rectangle narrower
  • Make the corners rounded
Draw the Driver’s Cab

Step 2: Draw the Engine Box

The engine is usually situated behind the driver’s cab, but because we’re drawing the excavator from a side angle today, we’ll place it next to the driver’s cab instead.

Draw a small vertical rectangle against the bottom-right side of the driver’s cab for the engine box. Remember, the engine box should kind of mimic the driver’s cab with the round corners and diagonal lines on the side.

Make sure the engine box is drawn over the side of the driver’s cab, and that you erase the driver’s cab line that cuts through the engine box for a neat design, and voila, you’re all set for the next step.

  • Draw a smaller vertical rectangle that is similar to the driver’s cab
  • The engine box should cut slightly into the bottom right part of the driver’s cab
  • Erase the lines of the driver’s cab that cuts through the engine box
Draw the Engine Box

Step 3: Draw the Swivel and Tracks

Did you know that the driver cabs on most excavators can rotate in 360 degrees? This is done so that the driver can face any direction they want. Pretty cool, right?

Draw a long horizontal oval directly beneath the driver’s cab. This will represent the swivel, the mechanism used to rotate the cabin. A similar mechanism can be found on army tanks, as well.

Once you are done, draw a large horizontal oval beneath the swivel. You want to ensure that this shape is both longer and wider than the swivel so that it accurately depicts the tracks.

Add a smaller horizontal oval inside the first one to resemble a chain line, then add a small circle in each corner. Be sure to use a mathematical drawing compass or circular object such as a bottle cap or coin for smooth circles.

  • Draw a horizontal oval beneath the cabin for the swivel
  • Draw another horizontal oval beneath the swivel for the tracks
  • Draw two circles inside the tracks, one on each end
Draw the Swivel and Tracks

Step 4: Draw the Boom and Arm

An excavator would be incomplete without a boom and arm, so be sure to include this step in your drawing! The boom is attached to the driver’s cab, while the arm connects the boom to the bucket and helps the excavator lift and carry loads.

First, add the boom by drawing a long diagonal oval attached the bottom-left side of the driver’s cab. You do not want the length of the boom to exceed the height of the cab, so copy the image below as best as you can for the proper dimensions.

Next, add a small circle inside the upper portion of the boom to indicate a pivoting mechanism, then draw another diagonal oval – this one attached to the top part of the boom – to represent the arm.

  • Draw a long diagonal oval attached to the side of the cab for the boom
  • Add a small circle inside the top part of the boom for the pivot
  • Draw a long diagonal oval attached to the side of the boom for the arm
Draw the Boom and Arm

Step 5: Draw the Bucket

The bucket is the fixture attached to the arm of an excavator, used to carry different kind of loads like sand and debris. In this tutorial, we’ll be keeping things simple and adding a standard bucket to our drawing.

First, draw a small circle on the end of the arm. This will serve as the attachment for the bucket. Next, draw a semicircle that is tilted towards the driver’s cab at an angle as shown below.

Keep in mind that the bucket doesn’t necessarily have to be a semicircle. It can be a rectangle or any shape you want. For this example, though, let’s stick with the semicircle.

  • Draw a small circle on the end of the arm for the bucket’s attachment
  • Draw a tilted semi-circle that attaches to the attachment to form the bucket
Draw the Bucket

Step 6: Draw the Exhaust and Engine Ventilations

To add the exhaust pipe for the engine, draw a vertical rectangle above the engine box. This should not be too long. Add a thinner rectangle on top of it and curve the top part slightly so that it bends away from the driver’s cab.

For the ventilation, draw three rectangles with rounded ends as shown in the below image. These will depict the ventilation slits for the engine. These simple shapes will instantly transform your drawing into a more detailed design!

  • Draw two vertical rectangles on the engine to form the exhaust pipe
  • Draw three small rectangles on the side of the engine to depict ventilation
Draw the Exhaust and Engine Ventilation

Step 7: Draw the Cab Door

Now that the general outline is complete, it’s time to add a distinctive feature onto the excavator that will give your drawing a extra touch of realism, and what better feature to add than a door?

Simple yet useful, adding a door is definitely going to tie your drawing together. To complete this step, draw a rectangular shape inside the width of the driver’s cab.

Make sure the shape follows a similar curve pattern as the cab and curve the lines so that they do not overlap with the engine box.

  • Draw a rectangular shape inside the cab for the door
  • Make sure the shape follows a similar curve pattern as the cab
  • Ensure the lines do not overlap with the engine box
Draw the Cab Door

congratulations! Your Excavator drawing is complete

If you followed the steps carefully, you should now have an excavator drawing similar to ours. If your image is not the same, there is still room for improvement. Use your eraser to remove the sections that don’t match, and simply redo them.

Complete Drawing

Taking Your Excavator Drawing to the Next Level

You might be tempted to take a step back and leave your drawing as it is, which is perfectly reasonable. However, we often encourage our students to push themselves beyond what is expected. Why leave your drawing as it is when you can improve it by incorporating background elements and color?

Step 8: Adding a background

We need to add some soil to the bucket. For this, simply draw a wavy line on the bucket to indicate that it has scooped something. Add a few falling particles so that the excavator appears to be in action.  

Next, we need to draw a line under the track of the excavator to serve as the ground it is standing on. Make sure you indent the area below the bucket to depict the area where the bucket scooped soil from.

how to draw an excavator
Add a Background

Step 9: adding Color

Now for the fun part, take out your coloring supplies and start coloring your excavator. Traditionally, excavators are yellow in color. You can use yellow on the cab, engine box, boom, arm, and bucket.

The ground should be dark brown and the exhaust black because it emits dark smoke from the engine. All in all, you don’t have to follow the norms. You can go as wild as you want with the colors.

how to draw an excavator
Colored Excavator

Bonus Tips

Study the techniques used when drawing excavators and other construction vehicles by watching YouTube videos or surveying visual learning platforms.

Make use of shading on certain parts of your sketch to create shadows.

Write your name and the date on your page to personalize your work and create a timestamp.


In this tutorial, we explored the steps required to draw an excellent excavator. We started by drawing the driver’s cab and the engine box, then added the swivel, the tracks, the boom, the arm, the bucket, and the exhaust pipe. We later added the ground and some soil to the bucket and then colored our drawing.

You can also use these simple steps when drawing an excavator on software like Adobe Illustrator or Paint.

The secret to a beautiful drawing is patience and practice. You may not get everything right the first time and that is okay. Keep practicing and add more details to your excavator as you get better.

how to draw an excavator
How to Draw an Excavator

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Learn how to draw an excavator step by step. You will also learn about the names of the different parts of this incredible machine.

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